This year alone five friends of mine have either gotten married or are getting married. I open Facebook and I see baby albums posted online of friends my age who have recently given birth. Engagements are happening left and right, and it always catches me by surprise when the last person I imagine to wed turns out to be the next one on the altar. Somewhere deep down in your unconscious you try to deny the fact that you are at that age. You know, that age when you start getting married or having kids, when life gets totally serious. When I was 18, I told myself that by the time I turn 28, I would be married. Yes, that was my plan. I didn’t keep it rigidly, but it certainly was a hope 8 years down the road. By 25, I was still not done hoping. If I do a status check at this point, that’s about two weeks from now. Hello.
I initially did not want to start an entry on this topic, but I guess like the wedding invitations piling up my desk and the pre-nuptial albums glowing brightly on Facebook, the reality is just bound to catch up with you. And it also isn’t a sore topic to brood over, lest all my recently-or-almost-married friends think I’m about to ditch their wedding day or throw tantrums because “that should have been me.” On the contrary, I take a good look at my life, now that I’m almost 28, and learn to be content at my current lot.
When I get into conversations with friends on topics of marriage, I’m always the first to say that I’m ready for it, primarily because I’ve lived a full single life. Here’s a disclaimer which might surprise many and which my best friend will totally disagree with me on every imaginable ground: I have always been single and have not had a boyfriend yet. I have dated guys in the past beyond the count of my fingers, and have had close (serious) calls with a few more, but I just haven’t been in one committed relationship yet, nothing long-term. That’s the truth and I’m saying it now. Everything was either “unofficial”, in passing, fleeting, patukso-tukso, worse, a mistake. But they have all served their purpose –those big and little heartbreaks I’ve experienced over time. And the best part? They still keep me hoping. Because in truth, it’s easy to get frustrated and disappointed when all around you people are falling in love, getting married, having their happy endings and you’re left with a pile of wedding invites and notifications on Facebook status changes. Puh-leeeze. Life offers us so much more. If my short relationships in the past have made me cynical, then I wouldn’t even be contemplating on this now.
But the truth is, I’ve become even more hopeful, more expectant, and wiser, because I have learned the lessons from pain, betrayal, wrong expectations, and not waiting on the Lord. Now that I’m almost 28, the age I told myself ten years ago I should be married, I would tell my 18-year old self these three things.
First, plan, but leave room for all of God’s interruptions. Plan, but definitely include God. Plan, but don’t close doors. Because our stories are yet to unfold before us, and like they say, the best is yet to come.
Second, I would tell my 18-year old self that a relationship is not the be-all and end-all of who we are. You are not less beautiful or attractive or wanted because you are single. A relationship should never define us. Sure, I’ve been single my whole life, but did it stop me from achieving what I’ve achieved now? Who would have thought 10 years ago that I’d put up a business, with my sister no less, and relocate to an island so far from the city I’m used to living in? 10 years ago, I didn’t like the outdoors, but look at the hobby I’ve pursued! Over the span of ten years, I’ve managed quite well, single as I am, getting published in the daily, working alongside heroic public servants, traveling to different parts of the country, preparing myself to be a “good wife” by managing our home in the absence of my mom, and not feeling like something is missing. I’ve lived a full single life and it worked pretty well with my circumstances.
Last, I would tell my 18-year old self that God always, always knows best. Five years ago, my heart got badly broken over a failed relationship. It completely changed the way I thought about God being sovereign and demanding total trust in him. Because I didn’t do that. I basically pushed for my wants, disregarded every rule He had so carefully written in my heart for many years, and followed after my deceitful heart. Because I didn’t wait on Him, I ended up broken inside. It took a far longer time to heal those wounds, but I came out with a resolute conviction that I no longer want to take part in that no-win situation. A guy is interested in me? Good. That’s pretty normal. Men like girls, don’t they? A guy wants to get my number? If you want to book on our van, maybe I’ll reply. A guy wants to pursue me? Let him pursue God first.
This time around, at almost 28, I will wait to be pursued according to God’s own timing. I’m no longer in it for heartbreaks and getting shortchanged. Even in the area of purity, I make no compromises and desire that God would help me guard my heart. There’s so much to do, and at 28, life is really only just beginning. The business has yet to pick up, there are still so many mountains to climb, so many endeavors to start. Above all, there’s so much God is asking us to do –and just like Rachel, let’s just be doing what we’re supposed to be doing and wait until we meet that guy at the well. To my nearly-28 year old self, just keep at it. You are exactly where God wants you to be. ☺